1. Phosphatase synthesis was studied in Klebsiella aerogenes grown in a wide range of continuous-culture systems. 2. Maximum acid phosphatase synthesis was associated with nutrient-limited, particularly carbohydrate-limited, growth at a relatively low rate, glucose-limited cells exhibiting the highest activity. Compared with glucose as the carbon-limiting growth material, other sugars not only altered the activity but also changed the pH–activity profile of the enzyme(s). 3. The affinity of the acid phosphatase in glucose-limited cells towards p-nitrophenyl phosphate (Km 0.25–0.43mm) was similar to that of staphylococcal acid phosphatase but was ten times greater than that of the Escherichia coli enzyme. 4. PO43−-limitation derepressed alkaline phosphatase synthesis but the amounts of activity were largely independent of the carbon source used for growth. 5. The enzymes were further differentiated by the effect of adding inhibitors (F, PO43−) and sugars to the reaction mixture during the assays. In particular, it was shown that adding glucose, but not other sugars, stimulated the rate of hydrolysis of p-nitrophenyl phosphate by the acid phosphatase in carbohydrate-limited cells at low pH values (<4.6) but inhibited it at high pH values (>4.6). Alkaline phosphatase activity was unaffected. 6. The function of phosphatases in general is discussed and possible mechanisms for the glucose effect are outlined.

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